Uptown Project renovates building for future business
As one drives through the small business district of Francesville, one might conclude that there is not much going on in this Northwestern Indiana community. However, looks can be deceiving. Yes, there are still a few empty buildings longing for a business; but, there are two vacated buildings that have new owners and activity has increased inside those walls with little notice. Here is an update taking place in one of those buildings, the Montgomery Mercantile.
The Uptown Project Inc. of Francesville, a Main Street Organization, was gifted the vacated Fagen Pharmacy building on Montgomery Street in December 2017. Even though the windows have been covered and it appears the building sits idle, the idea of a business that houses a mini mall with up to 14 vendors is becoming a reality. Two prominent organizations have been instrumental in helping to bring this project to fruition by awarding sizable grants to The Uptown Project. Recently, Uptown received $1,400 from Carroll-White County REMC and $7,500 from the Community Foundation of Pulaski County.
The grant award from Carroll-White County REMC will be used to purchase track lighting for each micro-business space within this building. In addition, it is with heartfelt gratitude the Uptown Project accepted a “first-ever” Impact Grant award from the community foundation. This grant will help pay for the restoration of the original hardwood floors, purchasing primer and paint for the new walls, and will supply the materials needed to build dividers and provide electricity to each micro-business space. Both Carroll-White County REMC and the Community Foundation of Pulaski County have been very generous in their support of many worthwhile causes.
The Montgomery Mercantile has received other discounts and donations from businesses for services rendered.
However, like so many renovation projects, actual costs usually exceed proposed budgets. Even though the goal of the Uptown Project is to open the doors for vendors and customers by early summer, unless additional funds are secured, through donations, grants, and fundraisers, the much-needed public restroom to be housed in the new mercantile will have to be put “on hold.”
Even though a cocoon may appear to be dormant, at just the right time it opens and a beautiful butterfly emerges. The same is true for the Montgomery Mercantile. The efforts of many are helping to make this venture a reality.